Combining Complimentary Approaches
Over the last few years, you may have begun to see medical practices offering “Integrative Medicine” services. Although some practitioners are marketing it as a unique style of medicine, the term simply refers to integrating elements of one style of medicine into a practice based on a different style. This term was first used by conventional physicians who began incorporating aspects of traditional medicine approaches into their practice style. For example, Western Medicine physicians who also offer acupuncture could be said to practice an integrative style. Similarly, MD’s who now prescribe herbs and supplements alongside pharmaceutical drugs are also practicing a form of Integrative Medicine. In our practice we have integrated the Functional Medicine approach with our primary Chinese Medicine practice model, which is itself a type of functional medicine. We believe this powerful combination is uniquely suited to address the many chronic and complex health conditions that we see today.
What is Oriental Medicine?
This is a term used in the West to refer to a form of medicine that originated in East Asia thousands of years ago. The oldest known documentation of this medicine dates back to around 500 BCE. However, these source documents show that even by this time it had already been developed into a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment system. Over time the earlier theories were systematically refined to the level of a high medical art in China. This medicine eventually spread to Japan, Korea, and the rest of the Far East, and was later introduced to the West through the travels of Marco Polo during the early 1200’s. The most common form of Oriental Medicine practiced in the U.S. today is referred to as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Though considered “traditional,” this medical approach has been in a state of continual evolution over its long history. Theories that were proven to be effective were developed further, while those that were not validated were discarded. This constant refinement continues today, giving us a healing tradition that is modern and alive. Though modernized, its “whole-istic” character is still very much intact. TCM focuses on treating the whole body, not just individual parts. Though time-proven tools like acupuncture and botanical (herbal) medicine are still used to help the body heal itself, the application of these tools has grown and evolved to address the conditions associated with our modern lifestyle.
What is Functional Medicine?
Though Functional Medicine has been around in some form for a long time, its benefit is now becoming more apparent. Since the advent of life-saving drugs like antibiotics, we have become more and more dependant on prescription drugs to take care of all our health care needs. While pharmaceutical drugs can be very effective in acute care situations, their efficacy and safety in chronic conditions has increasingly been questioned. They have the ability to treat dangerous or uncomfortable symptoms, but often don’t get to the root of the problem. This results in long-term use of powerful substances that can have dangerous side effects that require another drug to keep the patient stable. The answer for long-term health and stability, however, lies in the ability to treat the underlying cause of the condition. This is often a functional imbalance in one of the body’s systems due to the presence of toxins, nutrient deficiencies, or other lifestyle challenges. The strength of the Functional Medicine approach is its ability to uncover the systemic root causes of adverse health conditions and address them with non-pharmaceutical treatments. Restoring proper function naturally eliminates symptoms.